EU Government expenditure on economic affairs up in 2020

In 2020, general government total expenditure on ‘economic affairs’ in the EU represented 6.1 % of GDP, a significant increase from 4.4 % of GDP in 2019.

Government expenditure on ‘economic affairs’ was highly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic and government measures to mitigate its effects, most notably by furlough schemes recorded as subsidies to support the labour market and capital injections recorded as capital transfers. Expenditure on economic affairs saw a strong increase among the main functions of general government expenditure, growing by 33 % and increasing from EUR 615 billion in 2019 to EUR 821 billion in 2020 (+EUR 206 billion). Consequently, the share of ‘economic affairs’ expenditure in total expenditure increased from 9.4 % in 2019 to 11.5 % in 2020 (2.1 percentage points), to reach its highest share since 1995.

At the level of the EU in 2020, the categories in ‘economic affairs’ with the highest ratio to GDP were expenditure on ‘transport’ (2.3 % of GDP), followed by expenditure on ‘general economic, commercial and labour affairs’ with 1.9 % of GDP.

Croatia records highest share of expenditure on economic affairs

In 2020, government expenditure on economic affairs reported by EU Member States varied between 3.5 % and 11.3 % of GDP.

In 2020, Croatia (11.3 % of GDP) reported the highest amount for ‘economic affairs’, followed by Malta (10.0 % of GDP) and Greece (9.9 % of GDP), while the lowest ratios were found in Ireland (3.5 % of GDP), Germany (4.6 % of GDP) and Denmark (5.1 % of GDP).

The highest expenditure to GDP ratios for ‘transport’ were recorded in Hungary (4.6%), Latvia (4.4%) and Czechia (4.1%). By contrast, the lowest ratio was observed in Cyprus (0.7%).

The highest amounts recorded for ‘general economic, commercial and labour affairs’ were registered in Greece (5.5% of GDP), Austria (5.0% of GDP) and Malta (4.8% of GDP).

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